Guest Writer Rayne Wolfe’s Story – A MUST Read

By Val Boyko • April 3rd, 2011

Thank you Val for letting me speak to your readers today. When I began blogging at about my dream of writing my first book “Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter” I thought it would be pretty straightforward. Having been a New York Times regional reporter in California’s Wine County for over a decade, as well as a former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, I knew I could put up copy.

What I never anticipated from my Sunday blog was a personal journey of discovery.

rayne and her momI write about toxic mothers and how daughters can attain sanity, security, and happiness despite a terribly flawed mother/daughter relationship. I’m an advocate of truth, humor, courage, setting boundaries, and in extreme cases a proponent of cutting ties and barring contact with grandchildren.

My original focus was to write my own memoir of having been abandoned at birth, adopted by well meaning beatniks and the lucky last chance to love a mother figure by way of my dad’s second wife, a delightful woman who gave step-mothering a glorious, positive spin.

My birth mother and my adoptive mother were each highly toxic in unique ways. Unfortunately, because children are hard-wired to love their mothers no matter what, it took me a long time to gain the perspective to see that they were not nice people.

During my lifetime I have struggled with mother-based issues of abandonment, neglect, abuse, emotional blackmail Rayne as childand cruelty for cruelty’s sake. I have doubted my self-worth and have short-changed myself in relationships. I suffered through cycles of reaching out to them only to be disappointed and hurt by their behaviors. It wasn’t until my late forties, after working as a reporter and interviewing doctors, therapists, crime victims, police officials and juvenile justice professionals that I realized that I didn’t have a problem relating to my mothers; my mothers had a problem relating to the world.

After all, I was considered one of the nicest people most people knew. I had a happy marriage, more friends than I deserved, was successful at work, and in general appeared to be well-adjusted. Few realized that I had a very deep and dark secret, that I had not one, but two mothers who hurt and rejected me.

Serving as a volunteer police chaplain in my community helped me to attain the maturity to truly see these women as just people. I surprised myself by developing sympathy towards them actually thinking to myself: What would be the kindest thing I could do here?

Thank goodness I didn’t start writing this book in my thirties when I was so angry and hurt. I’m convinced that if I can tell my story properly I can save other women decades of toxic drama and emotional suffering.

Rayne Wolfe todayDuring this past year I have researched my adoptive mother’s life, discovering her own Depression-era kidnapping by an alcoholic prostitute mother. I also discovered and met my mother’s older sister who helped me better understand why my mother was the way she was. I’m a big advocate of researching your own mother as if preparing for a book report. It can be a very eye-opening experience.

Another thing for which I am grateful is the input of my blog readers, many of whom have completed extensive questionnaires about their own experiences with their toxic mothers. These submissions are now re-written as narratives and will comprise a good portion of my book.

The reader stories run the gamut from angry moms to murderous moms and everything in between including moms with substance abuse issues, pornographic proclivities, criminal lifestyles and specific cultural obsessions for purity, obedience, religious faith and professional achievement. I think that anyone who reads my book will find at least one story with which they can identify. I’m hoping that a 15-year-old girl in juvenile hall and a 90-year-old woman in a senior living center reading this book will each take something valuable from “Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter.”

While Mother Whisperer Val Boyko covers the relationships worth working on, I’ll stick to the other end of the mother/daughter spectrum. I’ll continue to write about self-preservation, boundaries and creating healthy relationships.

The mother/daughter bond is crucial to our well-being, but when those relationships are broken beyond repair there are sane pathways to a happier future. At we have created a safe forum and a language to explore these issues of pain, shame and isolation. With over 40,000 visitors each month from all over the globe, we have founded a women supporting women community to address toxic mom relationships. Many of my regular readers are spouses, children and friends of adult women dealing with this issue. They follow the blog to better support their loved one.

Please visit us at or pass this information on to anyone who could use it. And for today, as my Aunt Elaine always says, Bee Happy.





One of the best articles you have written. I LOVED every word of it.


This is a great perspective Rayne. I really like the idea of finding out more about our mothers. Even when our mothers are around most of us don’t know them as women outside of their role as mother.
You’ve inspired another post!

Wow. I admire how much Rayne achieved despite the pain of two TMs. My TM crushed my self esteem and confidence from the start and I’m still struggling with self-loathing, zero confidence and low self-esteem well into middle-age. It’s taken me this long to realize (or come to terms with) how deep and far reaching the effects are. My TM is now 89 with dementia, but despite the fog and forgetfulness, the venom towards me is still intact. My inner critic demands that I “get over it already!” but the resentment runs deep.


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